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UFC could clear major hurdle in NY with criminal investigation underway

An investigation into NY State assembly speaker Sheldon Silver could be a major win for the UFC.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Back in 2013 this article was written about the state of MMA in New York, it was titled "MMA in New York? Not until assembly speaker Sheldon Silver is gone." In short, the article alleges that Silver's power in the New York State Assembly is such that he's been able to work at the behest of the Las Vegas Culinary Union to block any attempts to get a bill legalizing MMA passed, despite general support among his peers. He's the shadow figure, working to make sure that MMA stays illegal. As Kevin Iole put it:

"Despite the likelihood of gaining more than 70 percent of the vote from the people's elected representatives, the bill likely won't come up for a vote. It's tied up in an administrative abyss by Silver, in a political chokehold that, for the fourth consecutive assembly session, will force opponents to tap.

The powerful politician has used a number of stall tactics to keep the bill in caucus and off the floor, where it would pass easily."

All of which leads us to the recent New York Times report that Sheldon Silver is now under investigation by the FBI for receiving undisclosed payments over the last decade from the law firm Goldberg & Iryami, P.C., specializing in property tax reductions. Silver is, himself, a lawyer, although he specializes in personal injury and is not known to have any expertise in property tax code. Currently, federal investigators are trying to determine exactly what Silver's role with the law firm might have been. While the potential fallout of that investigation is unclear, a loss of power for Silver in the New York state government would be a major gain for MMA and the UFC.

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